The official National Health Service (NHS) estimate of British patient deaths or serious injuries due to medical error is 11,000 cases a year. Yet, according to the Sun on July 3, 2009, the Commons Health Select Committee found that thousands of NHS mistakes are covered up and that a better estimate is that 72,000 patients die each year.
Some health reformers in the United States argue that more government controls on how physicians and hospitals practice medicine will improve quality and reduce patient deaths. Avoidable deaths in the US are now said to range from 98,000 to 195,000 every year. The lower number comes from a discredited Institute of Medicine estimate. The higher number comes from HealthGrades, a hardly disinterested party in the business of selling health care quality measures. Given the size of the US population, if government practice guidelines and pay for performance metrics are as successful under ObamaCare as they have been in Britain, expect the number of US deaths from medical errors to almost double to 360,000 a year.